A MAP and a compass are the only tools Cooks Hill orienteer Claire Burgess has to navigate her way around some of the most difficult terrains in the state.
Claire, 14, described orienteering as a mental and physical challenge.
"The aim is to navigate your way through the bush and pass checkpoints using natural features to identify where you are," she said.
"You have to go as fast as you can, which normally means running.
"It's a big challenge, both mentally and physically. You could be an amazing runner and still not be able to do it."
Claire's orienteering skills will be put to the test at the NSW All Schools Orienteering Championships in Ballarat in September.
The year 9 Hunter School of Performing Arts student was the only Hunter representative to be named on the junior girls' team.
She also flies the region's flag for the state, being the sole Hunter representative across the four NSW teams: senior girls, junior girls, senior boys and junior boys.
The 18-strong convoy will contest sprint, individual and relay events.
It won't be Claire's first time representing the state. She was on the team that contested last year's All Schools championships in Western Australia. Her team placed 10th in the relay event and Claire finished 14th in the individual race.
This year Claire hopes her team will break the top 10. She is feeling confident after being crowned the Hunter Region Schools girls' champion in June.
Claire was introduced to orienteering when she was a baby. Her mother, Sharon, carried Claire in a swag when she and her husband Glenn used to compete.
Claire started competing in Orienteering NSW State League novice events when she was eight. Then when she was 10, she joined Newcastle Orienteering Club, of which she is still a member.
Two or three times a month Claire competes in regional events held around the state.
Her goal is to one day represent Australia at the Junior World Orienteering Championships.